cold calling

Phone sales tips and a look at active listening for sales professionals

Noel Bouwmeester
LAST UPDATED
April 30, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) often hate cold calling as much as many recipients of those calls do.

However, armed with the proper methods and mindsets, selling over the phone can be both profitable and enjoyable.

In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to achieve that, and we’ll take a look at active listening and explain why it’s so crucial for phone sales.

7 phone sales tips 7️⃣

1. Fix your attitude

A major part of cold calling is learning how to deal with rejection.

With the right mindset, every rejection is but a step closer toward the next conversion. Not just mathematically, but you can also learn from every call and grow into a better SDR.

However, if you let rejection put you in a negative state of mind, then every rejection will actually force you a step backward.

Always remember:

  1. Most cold calls will not result in a sale
  2. You only control your actions, not those of your prospects

2. Call at the right time

An easy way to increase conversions and become a “better” SDR is by simply calling your prospects at the right time.

The right time to make your call depends on your industry, target audience, and their location.

However, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study shows that calling between 4 and 5 P.m. can increase conversions by as much as three times compared to other time slots.

In other words, you can boost your performance significantly by calling at the right time.

3. Research your prospects

Just as cold emailing without personalization is bound to fail, so is cold calling without researching your prospects first.

Prepare for each call by getting to know your prospect a little.

Check their social media accounts (particularly LinkedIn), do a Google search for their name, and see if you can find what their pain points are and how your product can solve them.

Just imagine you’re getting a call from an SDR and they immediately connect with you by mentioning some of the work issues you’re currently experiencing. This is what you’d call opening with a bang!

Compare such a personalized call with a generic sales call that has you mentally tune out and hang up the phone faster than Usain Bolt can run 20 meters.

4. Record your calls and improve

Some calls result in rejection simply because the prospect isn’t interested.

However, sometimes we do make mistakes.

By recording our cold calls, we can identify where we tend to slip up.

This allows us to become conscious of our mistakes and implement improvements for subsequent calls.

This is very similar to sports teams watching the video of a game and identifying areas for improvement for the next one.

The best part is the mental aspect of it.

As long as you keep learning from losses, you’ll still be winning

In short, a loss is never really a loss unless you don’t learn from it.

5. Ask questions

Asking questions is an invaluable tool in the SDR’s arsenal.

Instead of just firing words and phrases at your prospects, take the time to ask some questions and let them do the talking.

Not only does it show you’re interested in more than just making a sale, it also allows you to probe for valuable information that will

  1. Allow you to find hidden objections and address them
  2. Make you a better SDR by getting to know your prospects and the problems they’re experiencing

6. Summarize at the end of the call

From the moment your prospects pick up the call, they are bombarded with a lot of information about your product or service.

You can’t expect them to remember all the good things that you offer them.

At the end of the call, remind them of what they’ll get if they purchase.

Be concise and include the best benefits and features that your product offers.

7. Take frequent breaks throughout the day

Making cold calls requires a lot of energy.

It’s a reactive job that drains our powers more than other tasks.

You can lose conversions due to being tired.

To remain sharp, make sure that you take regular breaks.

But not just any break will do.

If you spend your breaks staring at your phone, you will not be refreshed when you return to cold calling.

Instead, step away from technology to give your brain the rest it deserves.

That way, you increase your chances of converting prospects into customers on your subsequent cold calls.

A look at active listening for sales professionals 👂

What is active listening?

Active listening is all about fully engaging and understanding the prospect’s words and needs during a sales conversation.

You must give your prospect your undivided attention and demonstrate a genuine interest in the information your prospect shares with you.

Active listening is an essential sales skill that helps you build rapport, gather valuable insight, and address the prospect’s needs and objections.

Here are three critical tips for active listening:

1. Avoid interruptions

The golden rule for active listening.

Think about it. It can’t be active listening if all you do is looking to get your own words in.

Besides, there’s a lot of valuable hidden information that your prospects are more than willing to share if you just let them speak!

2. Show empathy

Letting them speak is the first step.

The next one is to show empathy by acknowledging and validating your prospects’ concerns, frustrations, and other emotions they share with you.

Reflect their challenges back to them to show understanding and to build trust.

3. Respond thoughtfully

Active listening includes responding thoughtfully. Speaking on impulse is not active listening.

After your prospect has finished speaking, take a moment to respond mindfully.

Do not worry about allowing a moment of silence before responding, as this actually allows you to come up with superiorly empathetic answers.

As a bonus, it allows your prospect to add additional information to the conversation.

Key takeaways 🗝️

  • Your mindset determines your success. If you view mistakes as a vehicle for growth, nothing will stop you.
  • Selling over the phone is all about making it about your customer. You must be willing to help them first.
  • Active listening is the most essential skill for any SDR.
Noel Bouwmeester
SEO Content Writer @ lempire
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